LIFE magazine and Getty images have teamed up in a new website life.com to allow viewing and licensing of their collection of millions of images.
There are three elements I would change though. First is registration. It is extremely easy to set up website registration (via email confirmation). If life.com were to only make embed scripts available to registered members then there would be an additional level of monitoring and a way to link embed usage to actual users. A similar service has already been rolled out by Picapp offering embeds of images from Corbis and Getty Editorial.
Secondly, the issue of financial return to the photographer could be ameliorated if there were a feasible micropayment system in widespread use. Google manages what are in effect micropayments on a per-click or per-page-view level with AdSense and Adwords, with iTunes we have the 99¢ song. One of the reasons blog usage has either been free, unauthorized or now script-based is that there’s isn’t in place a viable means to gather microrevenue. The third change I’d like to see is the incorporation of caption and credit info into the embed. The above well-known image by Dorothea Lange of a Migrant Mother in Nipomo California should always have her name and credit prominently displayed alongside, ye the embed code does not provide that.
There is one last issue that warrants serious review, though, and that is how this program fits with the original contracts and licensing agreements photographers signed with Time/LIFE.